Taxpayer Identity Theft — Part 14

NOTE: I wrote this post in 2013, so be aware of its age.


I’ve been telling the story of Wendy Boka and the identity theft nightmare she’s going through with the IRS. Her husband Brian died at age 31 in 2010. Someone stole his identity and filed a fraudulent tax return in his name.

The IRS still has not processed Brian and Wendy’s final joint tax return for 2010.

Brian and Wendy were native Iowans. After Brian died, Wendy — a widow at age 29 — moved to Texas. The names are real and are used with Wendy’s permission.

You can read the other parts of this series here: 1234567891011,12, 13


As detailed in Part 12, the IRS had said in January that they were finally going to pay Wendy the refund she was owed from the 2010 tax return. The catch was, they were going to knowingly and willingly send the refund check to an old, no longer vaild, address. The check would get sent back to them, and then they would re-issue the check to Wendy’s current address. (The reason why the IRS decided to go about things in this manner is still a mystery.)

The check was supposed to be re-issued in March. March has come and gone, and still no refund check.

I tried calling the “identity theft liason” for Wendy’s case earlier this week. He of course didn’t answer, and hasn’t returned my call. Wendy has tried calling him over the last couple of weeks, and he isn’t returning her calls either.

We did get a notice from the IRS that said the check had come back to them and that we should verify that they have the correct address (they do, and have had it for nearly 18 months).

So I called the number shown on the notice. To my shock, the person at the call center was actually helpful. They’ll be sending a new check — but it will take another 6-8 weeks. The reason for the delay is, the original check was not only sent to the wrong address but was also made out wrong (it included Brian’s name but should have only included Wendy’s name).

To recap the timeline:

  • Brian died in January 2010. That’s almost 39 months ago.
  • We filed Brian and Wendy’s 2010 tax return right before the filing deadline in April 2011. That’s almost 24 months ago.
  • We sent the IRS the requested identity theft forms in the fall of 2011. That’s about 18 months ago.
  • The IRS told us we needed to fix a clerical error on the forms in the fall of 2012. That’s about 6 months ago.
  • More recent events: in January, the IRS told Wendy that they were finally ready to pay the refund from 2010 but that they were going to mail it to the wrong address. Once the check was “returned to sender,” they would re-issue the check to her correct address “in March.” Now it will be May or June.